Is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Afraid of a Debate?

Article Summary
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the most ''American'' Israeli politician, shies away from an ''American style'' TV debate, writes Guy Meroz Israeli satirist.

It’s evidently a done deal — Eyal Golan, a famous Israeli-oriental-style-singer, will be the Israeli Bruce Springsteen, or in other words the house singer of the leader of the Jewish power in the Middle East. Congratulations to one and all. A good choice: the singer — outstanding in his genre, the person who chose him — everybody’s leader (from his own perspective). Together they can climb to the top of the hit parade and live happily ever after.

But this is how it’s been for many years now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveys America. He speaks better English than Barack Obama. He has a more evangelical look than most of the Americans who cry for Jerusalem from afar. He even met his wife on a flight there or back. He would also love to work the way they do, become as rich as they are and shoot the bad guys every now and then just like they do. If he could, Netanyahu would be happy to live like an American. Except for that nagging matter of a debate. That’s his red line. He has a deep appreciation of American culture until it comes to the debate. Or to Jerusalem, don’t mess with him on that one.

So how is it that the most telegenic, most American person around here is avoiding the debate like the plague? What is he so afraid will be revealed in a debate, when he sits next to Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich, and why doesn’t he want to give Tzipi Livni a run for her money? Why? Because it doesn’t interest him in the slightest, because he has absolutely no desire for his outbursts of laughter to be heard all the way to E1 each time Yachimovich nags him about a debate.

Who needs a debate when you’ve got a huge and leading right bloc? Who needs Nissim Mishal, the Israeli TV and radio personality, with knitting needles when you can have Rina Matzliach, Mishal's co-host, and friends with curious anecdotes? And why are they even bugging him with this nonsense, when he needs to rescue the economy, lead the nation and all kinds of other slogans that haven’t been revealed to us yet.

And what about the other side? My suggestion for the other side: hold a debate without the king. Have a doll or any other object you see fit stand in for him. Bring your scholarly theories that are so different from the others, convince us that ''Yesh Atid'' center-party leader Yair Lapid is better than Tzipi, who is not as good as Shelly or vice versa, give it the pretty packaging of an Eyal Golan song, and we’ll all go back to wallowing in silence until the next leader of the right wing–religious party Naftali Bennett comes along. No, no, he won’t come. He’s happy there on his own. Now that even former Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman isn’t in his way. Shhh… Just let him sleep peacefully. 

Found in: songs, israel, elections

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